Barcelona activa

Promotes economic growth of Barcelona and its metropolitan area.

CLUSTER: Innovative services and organisations focusing on migrants’ employability and work integration

START DATE: January 1986



employment policies, entrepreneurship, local economy development

Barcelona activa

whereCarrer de la Llacuna, 162-164 08018 Barcelona, España.


Barcelona City Council, government of Catalonia and other institutions.

Migrants and their host community.


Training, employment and entrepreneurship.

Barcelona Activa is integrated in the Area of Employment, Enterprise and Tourism at Barcelona City Council; it is responsible for promoting the economic development of the city, designing and implementing employment policies for citizens, and encouraging the development of a diversified local economy.
Barcelona Activa provides a wide range of services and products for migrant entrepreneurs to turn their business ideas into reality. They support entrepreneurs through a blended model methodology that mixes onsite and online support,complemented by a large offer of training activities. They work in coordination with the city council and an extensive national and international network.

why it is

They promote equality, social integration, cooperation, sustainability, and diversity through job integration, training, and supporting entrepreneurship of both migrants and locals.

On average, the program supports more than 1,000 business projects each year and between 50% and 60% of them become a company by the end of the first year, creating on average 2.4 additional jobs.


Team and competences:
BARCELONA ACTIVA (BA) has a team of more tan 300 people with different backgrounds.
Legal Form:
BA is a public company

Service Description

Main Problem Addressed / Activity Sector:
Their main focus is business and employment creation. BA is responsible for promoting the economic development of the city, designing and implementing employment support policies for its citizens including the migrant population, and encouraging the development of a diversified local economy. Additionally, they aim to promote the city internationally to attract and retain talent from all over the world.
22,6 % of the people assisted in the job placement programs in 2016 were foreigners, of those, 17,4% where from outside of The EU. 52,7% were women, 44,8% were over 40, 56,6% were unemployed, and 39.2% had a university degree.
Solution (Project/Service):
BA offers legal assistance and business support, all the information and multiple online tools (business plan online, idea tester and taxes calculator) have been uploaded onto the website in English. They offer intensive tailor-made programmes conducted by expert trainers in the field of entrepreneurship and mentoring to entrepreneurs at different stages of the business creation process. The mentors and mentees are matched according to the areas of knowledge and needs. BA also provides information to migrants about funding at local and national banks or other institutions that provide microcredits, grants, loans etc. The financing institutions involved in the network provide easy access to funding for the accredited projects.
One of the key success factors of BA is the integration with a number of departments of the city council. Together they have created a core organisation, developing programmes with a solid, powerful and unified strategy. The strategy covers entrepreneurship and employment, including successful plans to integrate and promote migrants as well as ethnic minorities


Main Milestones:
Due to the coordination with the city council, BA has been provided with sufficient spaces to carry out its activities and services for entrepreneurs. Therefore, it is able to offer incubators, accelerators, offices, conference rooms, auditoriums, classrooms, technological centres, etc. These places have been created to enhance the entrepreneurial atmosphere and the facilities include office material, computers and restaurants other than the simple working space. Consequently, entrepreneurs can develop their projects in an adequate place, surrounded by more entrepreneurs taking advantage of all the services of BA.
Main difficulties/challenges:
BA has encountered barriers and challenges in the implementation of its programmes since the beginning of the inclusion of the English language within their services. Some of the workers of BA received English training and multicultural group management training. It was a great challenge to introduce a new language in such a large organisation, even though some of the workers already had the necessary knowledge.


In terms of income, it should be noted that 81% (41.8 million euros) comes from the Barcelona City Council. Revenues from the Generalitat de Catalunya account for 12% of total revenues, while revenues from the European Union have decreased considerably compared to the previous year, mainly due to the end of the 2007-2013 ERDF program. Finally, revenues from management, and other revenues from other institutions (in total, 7% of total revenues) have contributed to making the service possible.
The team is organised in 3 main Executive Management Departments, each one divided in several Operations Management Departments, and 6 supporting Operations Management Departments. Each department has a different area of focus and a team of people with different backgrounds.
Stakeholders and Partners:
BARCELONA ACTIVA is the local development agency of the Municipality of Barcelona, with the state as a stockholder and a board of directors with representatives from every municipal group.


Main Goals/challenges:
BA’s services could be replicated by other cities, following the model of a development agency responsible of integrating and running programmes made for migrants and native population, both in parallel. It should be taken into account that the targeted programmes need visibility in different places. Reaching migrants sometimes requires a different approach and has to be considered in the communication campaign.
Critical Factors to manage this challenges:
BA is already in the process of sharing expertise with other cities’ development agencies. These visits benefit initiatives in other cities, while simultaneously increasing the network and knowledge of BA. Additionally, the activities and events carried out by BA in other countries, such as China, Colombia or Brazil, improve the perspective of the organisation’s workers and leaders about their own work